04. 14. 2008. 14:09

Tram – Final Station (prose poem)

Ágnes Nemes Nagy (1922–1991)

"This has always been a peculiar place. The tram pulled into the valley’s jaws, running, running on a thinning path, then a hill-side leapt up against it, and then the tram stopped. Chasm. An unincreasable final stop."

This is somewhat… peculiar.
I’d say impossible.
Surely it was renovated after the war.
Of course it was renovated. We have been here a lot before.
By all means we have.
But now it looks as if…
Yes, it looks as if…
Yet not. These are much newer building ruins. To prevent
it from traffic due to repair of the rails and the under-construction. Then why is there a hole in the station’s wall? That large round one, clearly a trace of a shell. And why is there a concrete bunker beside the rails’ scrap, painted on it: Ice-cream?

This has always been a peculiar place. The tram pulled into the valley’s jaws, running, running on a thinning path, then a hill-side leapt up against it, and then the tram stopped. Chasm. An unincreasable final stop.
All around the valley clad in rubble-work, stone-room under the sky. Above its narrow entrance a bridge stretched, bowstring around the semi-circle of the chasm room, folding and unfolding the space.
The station is wooden framed. Ornaments, iron bars, painted yellow; art nouveau cast iron lyre. An intimate Victorian station.
Unincreasable, intimate, Victorian. Those early lit tram-cars – this is a one-car relation – pulling out into the evening, obsolete glow worms. Is there anyone living on this hillside?

Of course there is. Not too many. For example, two stone posts up there, an old, familiar entrance somewhere. A trunk tipped between them. Two stone posts, behind them a forest track with an uncertain, overgrown bend as if it was leaving somewhere.
Shall we go up there?
The station hall is quasi intact. With its carved wooden pillars, a country veranda in autumnal light. Corpses of crush barriers around it, leaning on a heap of broken stone between railway sleepers. Further on rusty cable bushes in the grass. Floating stone-stairway’s oblique plane on the hillside. Characteristic. Characteristically large post-blast stairway. They have blown it out. Only the bunker is untouched, the iron door open, rubbish inside. Two persons could fit in, just. Standard size. Characteristic.
But they couldn’t have blown it up, there can’t have been a bunker here, ice-cream is sold, standard size, they renovated it 30 years before. We are not here then, but now, 30 years later and a few more. Wild sorrel and wire knots scattered around.
We have done a U-turn.
We haven’t done a U-turn. Where do you think the two stone posts are?
No. There.
Where do you think the final stop is?
Impossible. We have done a U-turn on the way. So that the final station would be in the focal point of the U. I cannot miss the final stop.
We’ll go back. Obviously it is not there. We’ll go back. The final stop isn’t there which means nothing. There are so many hills, serpentine paths, diversions, that it could be behind any waves of the hills, behind another canyon another ravine could appear, that wasn’t blown up, was blown up but renovated 30 years before, ruined, un-ruined, but still. I am not saying that there are a lot of those. This would be incorrect, an exaggeration. Three or four final stops at the most, this is as much as fits into the space of perception. 
And those stations stretched out in space are not beside each other, not at all. In the same valley, in the same point, together. There is only one single geometric place flickering there, locked in a translucent shell, locked in some kind of an accordion-route, just like at the airports you know. An invisible field of force corridor, two or three time zones in its stomach. Forgotten there by chance, with a contingent content of a station. 
The ground flight-path flickers, into which we have just entered by chance, it is windy. It is windy, cavities blow out, cavities fill up, the wall rises and collapses, bows, the terminal bends in the corridor’s wind, spit of stone smeared by a large foot, and then wall again, box office, weathervane. Its positions pressing down on each other, tightly, airily, waving wrinkles of a saddleback, rupturing, torn, tattered iron traverses, stone flaming, like textiles, up and up, tangling down. 
We entered there, us, uninformed travellers, into a wild blow of a wind tunnel, unprepared, where a single ragged flag is a house, a fallen military cape that will jump up again and again, with empty sleeves towards the sky, as if there weren’t any form, there weren’t, only wind.
But they’ll cancel it. They are already compressing the corridor’s accordion-wall, as it is obviously due to oblivion, that it stayed there. For a second, the bunker, the spit of stone, an uninterpretable status of time escaping into space, and the rest behind it. A crane is already lifting it, a crane that doesn’t cast a shadow, invisible iron-towers of building operations on the sky, as they are reversing, to eliminate the dimensional turmoil in haste. 
Look, what a fuss in the air, the metal phosphorescence of the repair works, translucent, gigantic activities. Up there, is the sky, like above a port, where the mast-panorama dissolved in mist, steel of chimneys and storehouses boom. Look, gleaming and jangling, bluish arches of the welding of time. Something is closed and open with a firmamental hex saw dismantling welding dismantling the wounds of our own latitude. If we now… behind the hill….
What are you talking about?
About the final stop.
But it isn’t there. Don’t you understand? It isn’t there.

Translated by: Ágnes Lehoczky

Tags: Ágnes Nemes Nagy (1922–1991)